Popular culture and modern media would have you believe that a slip-and-fall accident is something to laugh at and not worry about. In reality, slip-and-fall accidents pose a serious threat to the well-being of people of all ages, from children to the elderly. In fact, more than a million people every year end up seeking treatment at emergency rooms in the United States for injuries related to slip-and-fall injuries.
Slip-and-fall accidents can happen just about anywhere. They can happen in a parking lot where snow and ice wasn’t properly cleared. They can happen on sidewalks for the same reason. Inside stores and buildings, leaks, spills, excess floor wax and other messes could result in dangerous conditions for the people moving around. Building owners and property managers are legally responsible to maintain safe facilities for the public. When they fail and it results in an injury, they incur what is called premises liability.
How does premises liability work?
Making a business or a space open to the public involves some risk. If someone ends up sustaining an injury on your property, whether you own it or rent it, you are often held responsible for those injuries. That is particularly true if the injury was a result of a failure to properly clean or maintain your facilities. Slip-and-fall accidents usually fall under that umbrella, as messy floors or uncleared snow usually qualify as a maintenance failure.
In order to protect against the liability associated with slip-and-fall accidents and other injuries sustained by visitors or customers, businesses obtain specialized premises liability insurance policies to protect them. Typically, when a person gets hurt in a business or its parking lot, any compensation that results comes from either an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
Slip-and-fall injuries range from mild to deadly
Many people assume that the worst thing that results from a slip-and-fall accident would be a bruised tailbone and ego. In reality, people can sustain fatal injuries as a result of a simple slip-and-fall incident. Many times, those who fall can strike their head. The brain is an incredibly delicate organ, and bruising, swelling or blunt force trauma can cause massive damage. Traumatic brain injuries can be deadly, or they can result in severe, often permanent disability.
Those who slip in a store can also end up with broken bones, spinal damage, nerve damage or other serious injuries. Medical care and treatments for these injuries can include trauma care, physical therapy or surgery, all of which can be quite expensive. There are other considerations, too, such as lost wages and pain decreasing the victim’s quality of life. Compensation for these injuries may be available to those who suffer a slip-and-fall in a business, on a sidewalk or in a parking lot.